River Exe Cafe - Exmouth
Google? Please find me an unusual restaurant destination in the UK!
A floating gastro shed serving seriously tasty, fresh local food? I can only be speaking of the River Exe Cafe, which boasts a wonderfully unique location in the middle of the Exe Estuary, on the south coast of Devon.
Admittedly, Scott and I first discovered this unusual foodie destination, which can only be accessed by boat, whilst watching a Channel 4 programme; 'Hidden Restaurants', last year. Hosted by Michelin-starred chef, Michel Roux Jr, the series showcased secret eateries and food mavericks across the country. Finding fantastic food in places you would least expect, certainly piqued our curiosity. So when we watched Michel Roux Jr visit the River Exe Cafe, we just knew this was a dining venue we would be keen to experience for ourselves one day...
Well, that day arrived sooner than we thought! Whilst holidaying in Devon and Cornwall last month, we drew up our itinerary so that we could factor in a lunch at the River Exe Cafe. Booking is essential, and you will need a Water Taxi (or your own boat, if you have one!) to get there...
After the short river journey from Exmouth Marina, we climbed on board the floating cafe. Looking forward to dining outdoors in the sunshine and fresh sea air, whilst enjoying the unparalleled views of Exe Estuary, we toasted our excitement with glasses of Pimms.
Then arrived our starters from the kitchen next door. Sea-to-plate food doesn't get much better than this!
'Deep Fried Baby Squid' (£9.95) served with oyster mayo (I know, so delicious!) and sweet chilli sauce. If fried squid is on the menu, there's a 99.9% chance I'll order it!
And, 'Lyme Bay Scallops' (12.95) baked with coral butter and white port topped with parmesan crumble.
Up next, our mains. We both ordered from the 'River Exe Cafe Mussel Bar' - one starter size (£9.50) and one main size (£16.95).
Scott opted for the 'Devon Cider and Smoked Bacon', whilst I tried the 'Classic Moules Mariniere'. Both dishes arrived with soft white bread, perfect for dunking into those delicious sauce!
The flavours were spot on and the size of the mussels were fleshy and meaty too. I would comment that the size of the 'starter' portion was quite generous, so if you have a small appetite (and, especially if you have begun with a starter), I'd opt for that. I made it to the bottom of my bowl, but I'm not sure I could have taken on Scott's!
We enjoyed our mains alongside a side of these melt-in-the-mouth moreish 'Truffle and Parmesan Frites' (£4.45).
We ordered one side to share, although we had to fight for the final few!
This really was one of the highlights of our holiday. And besides, brilliant blue skies above, Pimm's and fried fish, what's not to love?! If you're visiting the area, then I'd suggest booking yourself a Water Taxi and table at this fabulous floating restaurant.
As we took our seats back in the boat after our delicious meal, I couldn't help but think how romantic a setting this must be in the evening. Stars twinkling from above and the gentle sounds of the water lapping the pontoon, it lends itself perfectly to being ideal date territory, I'd say!
For more information regarding the River Exe Cafe's menu, and how to get there, pop on over here.